With her very personal signature, glass artist Magdalena Paukner continues an elaborate Bavarian Forest tradition. A visit to Lindberg near Zwiesel
Glass artist Magdalena Paukner
It’s red-hot, with orange flames emerging from the glass oven. Magdalena Paukner is concentrating hard. Through the glassmaker’s pipe, she blows air into a lump of liquid glass with great feeling. As if by magic, a glowing, shining ball emerges. With special wooden tools she begins to work on the shape.
After some time, she detaches the glassmaker’s pipe. She then widens the opening that has been created there with a pair of shears. Nothing must go wrong, because this delicate material does not forgive mistakes. Finished: the former lump of glass has become a beautiful, shimmering vessel.
“With my drinking glasses, each cup is slightly different; one has a larger opening, another a more bulbous shape and there are different heights and sizes. This is what is special and also what is beautiful about handmade glasses: They are all unique”, explains the glass artist. Magdalena Paukner grew up in Lindberg, a small town near Zwiesel. Zwiesel and glass art simply belong together in the Bavarian Forest. Not for nothing is there a saying: “Fine glass and good wood are the pride of Zwiesel”.
"They are all unique”
A to mobile glass furnace
The tradition of glass craftsmanship was passed on to the artist in her cradle. She is the descendent of a master glass craftsman and both her father and grandfather were glass cutters. She herself chose to train at a specialist glass college. “When it came to working with molten glass, my passion was literally sparked,” enthuses the glassmaker.
She then spent a couple of years working for the glass artist Cornelius Réer. Customers loved her work and in due course she decided to go freelance with her glass art. Without a workshop of her own, she was initially an itinerant glass maker at various glass workshops in her region - an exciting time. However, she had to set up her workplace from scratch every day and get used to a wide variety of glass types and furnaces. “I also had limited time and was unable to develop myself as an artist in the way I wanted to,” explains Magdalena Paukner.
Together with her life partner, she came up with the perfect solution: she built her own mobile glass furnace, a so-called studio glass furnace. It doesn’t need to be constantly heated like conventional glass furnaces. “I can switch it on and off like a grill and even put it in the garden so that I can work surrounded by nature.”
Glass art: Lovingly detailed and inspired by nature
But Magdalena Paukner doesn’t just work on the glass furnace. She spends a lot of time in front of a much more handy device: the glass burner. Here she forms leaves, berries and flowers from coloured glass, which she transforms into delicate and colourful necklaces, earrings and bracelets. “I take a lot of time and lose myself in what I’m doing.
The love of detail is what makes my jewellery so special”, explains the artist. It’s not only her glass jewellery that reflects nature. On her drinking cups, carafes, vases and bowls, for example, the fine structure of moss or the fragmentation structure of the bark beetle can be seen. Magdalena Paukner finds inspiration for her glass art at the Bavarian Forest National Park.
Her most famous object is in the glass gardens of Frauenau. It’s called “Urkraut” and represents a huge horsetail. Customers can view more manageable objects at exhibitions or at her studio. Anyone buying one of her jewellery pieces or receptacles usually comes back, Magdalena Paukner has observed. So she goes right back to work. She takes her glassmaker’s pipe in her hand – and another lump of glass is slowly transformed into a ball.
... from Magdalena
House to the wilderness
Visit the national park with the Haus zur Wildnis visitor centre at Falkenstein and the outdoor wildlife area. I also recommend the glass gardens of Frauenau with the glass museum. In the farmhouse museum in Lindberg, you can find out how people in the area used to live.
nationalpark-bayerischer-wald.bayern.de (in German only)
Gasthof Bauer, our village inn in Lindberg, is a great place for a stop. They serve regional dishes. Tourists can find a nice, small inn on almost every hiking trail. At the Haus zur Wildnis, you can get good vegetarian dishes and more unusual ones too.
bauernhausmuseum-lindberg.de (in German only)
For hiking, I recommend the big or small “Schachtenwanderung” (shaft hike). The shafts are extensive elevated areas that look like mountain pastures. There are upland moors and felts. Hikers will spend the whole day walking the various shafts. They will dive deep into the wilderness and enjoy the peace and quiet. I do this hike at least once a year.
arberland-bayerischer-wald.de (in German only)